Sake Ramen: Frank Tries Sake Lees Soup at Kazami Ramen in Ginza

By Ashley Owen
Updated: May 25, 2021

If you’re a fan of ramen, you’re going to love the latest installment of our special video series on this classic Japanese dish. This time our host Frank Striegl heads to Tokyo’s glamorous Ginza district to sample a unique bowl of sake ramen made with sake lees. This is the signature dish of Kazami Ramen, a top Ginza ramen restaurant that takes its inspiration from the delicate elegance and refined sake culture of Kyoto. Being such a huge fan of ramen, Frank also dives into a second bowl that features four different types of dried fish in the broth and is topped with deep-fried aburaage tofu from Niigata. Check out the video for a closer look at these two different but equally delicious dishes!

SAKE RAMEN: Sake Lees Ramen at a Kyoto-Inspired Ginza Ramen Shop | Slurp’s Up

Kazami Ramen is one of the best restaurants on the Ginza ramen scene, with a traditional and elegant interior that’s intended to be reminiscent of Kyoto. As with many ramen shops, first Frank buys his meal tickets from the machine outside before heading in and taking a seat at the counter where he can chat to the chef and watch them work.

Close up image of a bowl of ramen with a spoon holding some broth

The refined atmosphere of Kazami Ramen extends to its menu as well, which makes the most of classic Japanese ingredients such as seaweed, tofu, and rather unusually, sake lees. Also known as sake kasu in Japanese, this is the rice mash that’s left over after the pressing stage of sake brewing and gives the broth its distinctive flavor. The soup is rich and thick, with added creaminess from chicken and pork bones and a hint of shellfish in addition to the sweetness of the sake kasu.

Close up shot of a pair of chopsticks holding a piece of deep-fried tofu above a bowl of ramen

The ramen has thick and chewy noodles to complement the broth, and the bowl is topped with two types of chashu pork, nori seaweed, and Japanese mustard spinach for a splash of color, plus half a gooey egg. Perhaps the most interesting topping however is the aburaage deep-fried tofu slices. Their spongy texture is ideal for soaking up the soup and contrasts well with the crunch of the negi (spring onions).

Close up image of a bowl of ramen with meat, tofu, egg and seaweed topping

Frank’s second bowl of ramen shares the same toppings as the first, but with more delicate noodles and a completely different broth base. It’s made using four types of niboshi (dried fish), as well as katsuobushi and sababushi fish flakes. The lighter salt seasoning pairs well with the soup's thinner consistency to create a truly refined taste. Served with a porcini mushroom sauce on the side, it’s easy to adjust the flavor just how you like it. Be sure to take a look at the video for the full ramen review!

Join Frank for a vegan / vegetarian ramen tour in Tokyo, with gluten-free options!

Has watching this video got you curious about other regional varieties of ramen? Tuck into some of the best Hokkaido ramen and fusion ramen on a Vegan / Vegetarian Ramen Tour in Tokyo! You’ll visit a top ramen restaurant in the lively Shibuya district that specializes in Hokkaido-style ramen and sample two different mini bowls of ramen that showcase the prefecture’s unique culinary styles. Then, Frank will bring you to a fusion ramen restaurant for a contemporary full-size bowl! The best part is that there are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available, meaning this tour is suitable for just about anyone!

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Ashley Owen
Ashley is a freelance travel writer from the UK who spent the last two years living in Japan, and is about to embark on her next adventure to New Zealand. She's always on the lookout for exciting new vegan treats wherever she goes!
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